The Galápagos Islands aren’t simply the place that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution; they continue to advance it, showcasing how unique life develops in distinct environments. Track species that can’t be found anywhere else, from encounters with “Christmas” iguanas and curved beaked albatrosses to glimpses of the finches that changed our understanding of the natural world. Snorkel through crystal clear waters, hike along wild volcanic ridges, and get a living lesson on ecology and conservation in one of the planet’s most fascinating, unique and wondrous habitats.
You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. We have two options for you:
Shared Room (subject to the latest Covid-19 guidelines): You'll be matched with another solo traveler of the same gender.
Private Room: Have your own room, subject to availability, for a supplemental cost of $1,120. After booking your trip, please request a private room when you fill out your traveler information form and we’ll add the option to your booking and final balance.
Participants should be comfortable walking 2 to 4 miles over the course of a day. You should also be prepared to participate in the itinerary’s various water activities, which include swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking, as these are a highlight of the trip and some of the best ways to observe the local wildlife and geology. Please contact us directly if you have further questions about health and fitness level for this trip.
You should aim to arrive in Quito by 4 p.m. on Day 1.
For departure on Day 8, we will aim to arrive in Quito around 6 pm and do not recommend booking outbound flights home earlier than 11 pm. There are a few air carriers with late flights, however, we suggest staying overnight in Quito if possible. We are happy to help arrange a post-trip hotel night at the Quito Wyndham airport (or similar) if required (extra fees apply.)
As part of the trip, we will have a domestic flight on Day 2 from Quito to the Galapagos Islands and on Day 8 from the Galapagos Islands to Quito. The flight is approximately 2 1/2 hours in duration and may include a stop in Guayaquil depending on the flight. Atlas Obscura will book this domestic flight on your behalf, but the cost is charged in addition to your trip price. Please refer to the Pricing section for more information.
Your participation in this trip helps to support the vital conservation work carried out by the Galápagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Foundation. Together, these institutions study, manage, and protect the National Park, which covers some 97% of the archipelago's landmass, and the Marine Reserve. This work includes visitor education, habitat restoration, invasive species removal, captive breeding programs, and more. In addition, while most visitors to the islands travel by yacht or cruise ship, we'll stay in lodges and hotels. That means much more of the money we spend on food and lodging remains with local residents rather than international corporations. By providing financial incentives through tourism, local businesses and families are empowered to view wildlife and wild spaces as worthy of protection. You can increase your impact even more by purchasing souvenirs from locally owned businesses and by offering cash tips to lodge staff, drivers, boat crews, and local guides.
The International Ecotourism Society has formally defined ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” In other words, it is an effort to combine sustainable travel with ecosystem-level conservation and the explicit recognition of and respect for the rights of indigenous people. That’s why ecotourism is more than just “nature tourism”; it has the explicit goal of benefiting local communities both environmentally and economically. By providing financial incentives through tourism, these communities can become empowered to fight against poverty, and in achieving a more sustainable sort of economic development, can better resist other more exploitative industries like mining, agriculture, ranching, or logging. Ecotourism has also motivated the traditional tourism industry in general to move towards more “green” or sustainable practices.
All you need to enter and depart Ecuador is a valid passport with evidence of return or onward travel. With a U.S. passport, you will automatically receive a free 90-day tourist visa. For more information, see the State Department’s Ecuador travel page.
Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated if advance notice is given, though in most cases ingredients can't be substituted or omitted from particular dishes. If you have a severe allergy, or require special arrangements be made, please contact us as soon as possible so we can try to accommodate in advance, as there are some limitations on the Galapagos Islands.